Introduction: DIY Legs Stretcher for Splits

Having good flexibility is a huge part of working out. We usually focus on cardio or resistance training and forget all about stretching.

I've been working on my flexibility for some time now but I really needed a little extra help with my splits. I tried all kind of routines but found out that having a tool to help me get a little more out of my stretching program works great!

Here are the instructions to help you build your own leg & hip stretcher tool that will help you accomplish those splits, tight hamstrings/abductors and get you flexible in no time.

This DIY project is super cheap to make, it will take you less than 1 hour to build, once done is easy to store and very resistant. Besides, it is adjustable so it will help you get more and more flexible every time you use it!

Step 1: Gather Your Materials

You will need:

  • 3m of a 2cm diameter dowel rod
  • 2 - flat corner braces, here I used brass ones size 10cm x 2cm x 0.1cm
  • 4 - 3cm long bolts for metal
  • 4 - nuts for those bolts
  • 4 - washers for those bolts
  • 3 - 7cm long screws for wood
  • 1 - 5cm screw or bolt to be used as a pin
  • 3 - 1m pieces of your choice of t-shirt rope
  • Hammer drill or manual drill
  • Electric jigsaw or a manual saw
  • Electric or manual screwdriver
  • Sanding paper
  • Measuring tape
  • Clamp
  • Pliers
  • Pencil

If you already have tools at home you will probably spend less than $10 on the materials and you can find them all at your local home improvement store.

* Attention: All measurements are in meters and centimeters. To convert to inches you can use this link.

Step 2: Cut and Sand the Dowel Rods

Using your measuring tape and a pencil, mark your dowel rod and cut the following pieces with an electric jigsaw or manual saw:

  • 2 - 1m long pieces (leg pieces)
  • 1 - 50cm long piece (hand piece)
  • 3 - 10 cm long pieces (footrests and handle)

Sand out the ends of the pieces to remove any splinters.

Remember: Measure twice and cut once!

* Tip: If you are not flexible at all, start by making the hand piece longer (70-80cm long).

Step 3: Drill the Dowel Rods

Using your electric or manual drill make the following holes in the dowel rod pieces:

  • On the leg (1m long) pieces:
    • A through-hole 3cm from one end
    • A through-hole 7.5cm from the other end
  • On the hand (50cm long) piece:
    • A through-hole 3cm from one end
    • Rotate the rod 45 degrees
    • A through-hole 3 cm from the other end
    • 5 through-holes 6cm apart from each other starting from the last hole done
  • On the footrests and handle (10cm long) pieces:
    • A 5cm long blind-hole from one end

* Important: Use your clamp to help you hold your dowel rod securely when drilling.

Step 4: Screw Your Footrests and Handle Together

Using your electric or manual screwdriver and the long screws for wood (7cm long) to join the 10cm long pieces of rod to the other 3 pieces as follows:

  • On the leg (1m long) pieces:
    • Pass a screw for wood (7cm long) through the through-hole that is 7.5cm from one end of the rod
    • Screw through the blind-hole on a 10cm pieces
    • Screw tightly
  • On the hand (50cm long) piece:
    • Pass the screw for wood (7cm long) through the through-hole that is the by itself in one direction (not the one that has other 5 holes next to it)
    • Screw through the blind-hole on the remaining 10cm piece
    • Screw tightly

* Review: Make sure you end up with L-shaped pieces like the ones on the picture.

Step 5: Cover Your Footrests and Handle

Use the three 1m pieces of t-shirt yarn to cover the L-shaped handles you just screw together.

To do so, start by tying a knot on the handle and coil the yarn around the wooden pieces. Make sure you go through each area twice so the handles are softy padded and finish by tying another knot at the end.

* Review: Make sure you end up with padded footrests and a handle like the ones on the picture.

Step 6: Assembling the Leg Pieces Together

Using the flat corner braces and the 3cm long nuts, bolts & washers assemble both leg pieces (the ones that are 1m long) together. Each of the rods should be on the edge holes on each end of the brace.

Join the braces with the rods, on the opposite end of the footrests in the following order:

  • Bolt
  • Corner brace
  • Washer
  • Rod
  • Washer
  • Corner brace
  • Nut

* Important: Help yourself with the pliers to hold the nuts when screwing the bolts.

Step 7: Assemble the Handle Together

Screw the remaining 3cm bolts and nuts on the two most centred holes in the corner brace. In this case you will not need washers, just the 2 3cm bolts and 2 nuts remaining.

Help yourself with the screwdriver and the pliers to hold the nuts when screwing the bolts.

Pass the end of the handle (the 50cm long) piece, the one that does not have the yarned handle, through the recently screwed bolts and place the last of the screws (the one used as a pin) through the first hole.

* Review: Check out the pictures to make sure you have the same results.

Step 8: And You Are Done!

Now it is time for test it:

  1. Sit down on the floor with your legs straight and feet wide apart
  2. Place each of the footrests on the inner part of your ankles
  3. Gently pull the handle towards your body and feel the stretch
  4. Remember to keep a straight back, your hip bones on the floor and your knees straight
  5. When you think you can stretch even more, move the pin to the second or third hole and repeat the stretch
  6. You will be doing 180º splits in no time!

Hope this DIY project helps you get more flexible and healthier overall!

Exercise Speed Challenge

Second Prize in the
Exercise Speed Challenge